by Stephanie Soto
Musicals are an escape from the mundane; audiences are transported to the land of song and dance. Most consider musical songs fun, and necessary elements to move the plot along. But, how much do we think about their moral messages? This is no small matter. President Spencer W. Kimball praised My Fair Lady as music to aspire to when he dedicated the Centennial Tower at the BYU Provo. Here are ten songs that bring out the good in us.
- “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”–Wizard of Oz. Moral: Hope
Since the Academy-Award winning movie with Judy Garland, several versions have appeared on Broadway. It’s a song about dreams of the future. Like a rainbow, no one knows what’s ahead, but anticipation is the joy of life. Such joy is lost in everyday life. Dorothy Gale longs for a life far from the farm where she can be what she wants to be. It’s about hope that one day our troubles will be far behind.
- Defying Gravity–Wicked Moral: Integrity
Wicked is one of the greatest musicals of the modern era. This song’s about Elphaba (The Wicked Witch of the West) who’s no longer going to live the way she’s told. She must choose society’s path or her own. She follows her conscience, defying order. As Mormons, choosing the right isn’t always easy but having integrity and pushing on is God’s way.
- You and Me (But Mostly Me)-The Book of Mormon Moral: Humility vs. Pride
While some are offended by this musical, who can deny the moral in this song: pride affects anyone, even missionaries. We should do the work of God, not Man.
7.”Consider Yourself”-Oliver Moral: Acceptance
Oliver Twist is about a boy breaking out of poverty, and the courage he displays. Befriending the artful Dodger, he’s embraced by the street urchin gang Fagan’s Boys. Pick-pocketing is a no-no, but the larger message of family and easing the pain of the lonely makes this tune an enduring testament to love.
6.”Anything you can do I can do better” Annie Get Your Gun Moral: Equality
Annie Get Your Gun, a musical about the old west sharp shooter , displays the struggle that Annie faces trying to be seen as an equal to her shooting partner Ray Butler. In this song she and him are of course complaining who is the best at anything. A classic tune that really shows any individual can be just as good then anyone else no matter who they are or maybe even just as bad in certain things.
- “One Day More” Les Miserable’s Moral: Unity
Les Miserables is a musical of tragedy and hope. This song has the entire cast singing just before intermission about their dreams, goals and how they will all come together in one more day to face their fates in a war-torn France during the revolution.
4. “My Shot” Hamilton Moral: Perseverance
Hamilton, an original American revolutionary, is also the hardest ticket to get on Broadway. Because he is ”young ,scrappy and hungry,” the protagonist will rise against the powers that be and achieve freedom. This speaks for all that stand up for one’s values. who has ever had to stand up for him or herself. That just like Hamilton some things are worth fighting for and never give up.
3.”Children Will Listen” Into the Woods Moral: Being an Example
This musical is a creative synthesis of several fairy tales. The final song admonishes us to be an example, especially to our children by doing the right thing. Children are the future and continue the story.
2.”Tomorrow” Annie Moral: Hope
Annie, is the classic musical that everyone loves. It’s the story of a young orphan, that musters up hope for a better life when the sun rises. Everyone needs hope.
1.”Close Every Door” Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat Moral: Faith
This has to be number one. It’s sung when Joseph is thrown into prison seeing no way out. He turns to God declaring that no matter what happens, God will never abandon us.
What is your favorite song from a musical? Comment below.